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Texas Gov. Abbott mulls challenge to Supreme Court ruling requiring schools to teach illegal immigrants

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state is considering a challenge to a 1982 Supreme Court decision that required public schools to teach illegal immigrant children as Texas and other border states face the prospect of a massive migrant surge.

Abbott made the remarks on “The Joe Pags Show” Wednesday about the looming end to the Title 42 public health order and the potential migrant surge that may follow. The order has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the border, and DHS has said it is planning for up to 18,000 migrants a day once the order ends.


But even before the halt to that order, the border crisis is already raging. There were more than 221,000 migrant encounters in March alone, and that number is expected to have risen in April.

Abbott has taken a number of dramatic steps, including increasing truck inspections and busing migrants to Washington D.C., in response to the ongoing migrant surge and on Wednesday said the situation in the border state is “unacceptable.”

“It is unmanageable, and it is exactly why Texas is doing more than any other state has ever done using tools and strategies no one has even managed before to secure our border,” he said.

He told host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo the number of migrants crossing the border was creating challenges for schools as well, given there are people coming in from over 150 countries who speak a multitude of languages.

“It’s not just Spanish that teachers have to deal with with these kids, it’s multiple other languages. And so the challenge on our public schools is extraordinary,” he said.

He then suggested that Texas will challenge Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 case that resulted in a 5-4 decision to strike down a Texas law that sought to deny public schooling to any student not “legally admitted” into the country.

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge that issue again because the expenses are extraordinary, and the times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor said.

Asked again about his remarks at a press conference a day later, Abbott said the federal government should foot the bill for their education.

Republicans have been bolstered by a number of legal victories against the Biden administration on the question of immigration, although a Plyler v. Doe challenge wouldn’t challenge a Biden policy but a Supreme Court ruling.

Recently, Texas filed a lawsuit to block the Title 42 public health order from being lifted. That lawsuit is separate from a 21-state lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction on the order.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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